Contributor James R. Campbell – How Much Our Healthcare Has Changed

Calera, Oklahoma, a small town that lies just across the border from Texas. May, 1944. A family in this small town rises, as they would on any other morning. But this was to be no ordinary morning. My cherished Aunt, who was ten years old at the time, was having trouble maintaining her balance. She wanted to go to school to take a test. My Grandmother took her to see Dr. Sawyer instead. He was the physician who cared for the family for many years.

When he examined my Aunt, he found that both eardrums had burst due to an infection. He admitted her to the hospital in Nearby Durant, Oklahoma.

He met her anxious parents in the hall. “Mr. Campbell.” He said. “I will do what I can here, but if there is no improvement, I may have to send your daughter to Dallas for further treatment.” My Granddad looked at the doctor “We don’t have the money to take her to Dallas.” He said. Dr. Sawyer looked at him and said, “don’t worry about it. If she needs to go to Dallas, it will be taken care of; I will see to it, personally.”

October 24, 2013, Odessa, Texas. I was informed by Dr. Usha Kurra, my health care provider, that my insurance carrier, Care Improvement Plus, was demanding a colorectal screening. They had advised me that they would pay for the procedure. When the big day came on October 29, we were surprised to learn that the co-pay would be 225.00.

What has changed?

The answer depends on who you ask. There are those who will tell you that the change is due to the cost of liability insurance doctors pay because of malpractice suits, others will tell you that it is because of the cost of our developing technology, and others say that it is because of the greed of the industry.

I had a man named George Sanchez come to my house to sell me a policy on November 30, 2005. He told me that the health care industry was better off financially than the oil tycoons and the movers and shakers in the high tech industry. I don’t doubt it for one minute.

But I would like to put this forward for consideration. The greatest change in health care between 1944 and 2013 can be owed to the fact that we as a society have handed responsibility for our health care to Big Brother in Washington. We let our representatives and the lobbyists for the health care industry make our decisions for us, instead of leaving it up to the communities, as was the case with my Aunt in Oklahoma in 1944. What is the result? Higher premiums and co-pays, more regulations, higher drug costs, and a health care system that is out of control to an extent that the average person can’t understand, let alone work with any of it. The solution is for the people to take it back, take it away from the government and take care of it themselves, in our local towns and cities. How this can be accomplished is a matter of thought, but if we pull together, I believe it can be done.

Finally, I received a letter from Medicare on Saturday; I have been advised that I need to switch plans. Care Improvement Plus has been rated below average or poor for the last three years. Given recent events, I am not surprised, and neither is my family.

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